Poverty in Pakistan

Economic Lives of the Rural Poor in Pakistan


This paper reports about the economic lives of the extremely poor living in Pakistan. Poverty mostly in rural areas is one of the major problems in Pakistan and this paper describes the economic lives of the rural poor, what economic choices they make and how these are shaped. Also it outlines what measures have been taken in past by the government of Pakistan to overcome poverty.

Pakistan is an agrarian country with 75% of its population residing in the rural areas (sheikh). Poverty is one of the major and persistent problems faced by Pakistan. In 2004-2005 the government estimated that nearly 24 per cent of the people were living below the national poverty line and in 2009 62 millions of Pakistanis were living under the Poverty Line (Usmani). Poverty in Pakistan sharply decreased during 1980s but started to rise in 1990s and rural poverty has increased more than urban poverty. Poverty is not just about income poverty, it has many multidimensional aspects to it like lack of opportunity, lack of choices, lack of education, lack of health provisions, and all these leading to a poor standard of living. It is shown in the Table 1.1 that the Head Count ratio of poverty remained higher in the rural than the urban areas in the years from 1960s to 1990s (Kemal).
The economic lives of the poor living in the rural areas of Pakistan is defined by their income levels, their expenditure and consumption pattern, the infrastructure and their living environment as well as the economic choices and constraints they face.

Rural Households and their source of income
Pakistan’s economy is mostly based on agriculture and farming is the main source of livelihood. This makes the land most important asset but the problem persistent in Pakistan is the highly unequal distribution of land. Most of the poor population living in rural areas is...